INSIDEBTCC.COM issue 24: aug 2013
PLUS - TIM HARVEY REUNITED WITH OLD FRIENDS...
YOUNG MG DRIVER CLAIMS FIRST WIN www.insidebtcc.com Inside BTCC MORE... PREVIEW / OWY IS BACK / SUPPORTS ROUND-UP / MUCH KNOCKHILL
WELCOME... After a weekend of drama at Snetterton, the BTCC now heads to a circuit where more action is almost guaranteed with the annual trip to Scotland. Matt Neal held on to his points lead last time out and goes to Knockhill once again as the man to beat but with his advantage over Andrew Jordan having been reduced in Norfolk. Neal expects a challenging weekend again this time around but the same can be said for his nearest rival who takes a six place grid penalty into the meeting. In this edition of Inside BTCC, we recap what happened at Snetterton earlier this month and preview what is to come at Knockhill.
There is the usual recap of how things stand in the various TOCA support series and a round-up of the latest headlines, alongside full championship standings and our results archive for the 2013 season. There is also the chance to win tickets to the eighth round of the year at Rockingham in our latest competition – get your entry in to stand a chance of winning! As usual, you can follow us on Twitter at @InsideBTCC or give us a like on Facebook at Facebook.com/InsideBTCC. You can also get in touch with us via e-mail on contact@insidebtcc. com if you have any feedback or suggestions you want to send our way. Until next time…
We also speak to Tim Harvey about getting back behind the wheel of his Ford RS500 from the 1990s and get the inside line of a fine weekend for Airwaves Racing in Lauren’s latest column.
S T TEN
N O C
IN THIS ISSUE... HARVEY STEPS BACK IN TIME Former BTCC star reunited with old friends
LAURENâ€™S COLUMN A turning point for Aron...
10 - 14
NEWS IN BRIEF Latest BTCC news round-up
15 - 17
OWY RETURNS AGAIN Fan-favourite on track at Knockhill
18 - 19
SNETTERTON ROUND-UP Tordoff takes his first win
20 - 25
COMPETITION Win tickets to Rockingham!
SUPPORT RACES Rounding up the action from the support formulae
32 - 37
KNOCKHILL PREVIEW Looking ahead to the annual visit to Scotland
38 - 39
ABOUT INSIDE BTCC... Inside BTCC is an independent publication that is in no way endorsed by, or affiliated to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship or its organisers.
Photos are credit PSP IMAGES or JAKOB EBREY unless otherwise stated. To get in touch, please email: CONTACT@INSIDEBTCC.COM. Written, produced and edited by Matt Salisbury and Matt Lamprell. Front cover images: Main - Sam Tordoff (jakobebrey.com); Top right - Tim Harvey (PSP Images). Back cover: Grid girls (PSP Images).
HARVEY TAKES A STEP BACK IN TIME
Tim Harvey enjoys being reunited with an old friend as he returns to action in his 1990 BTCC challengerâ€Ś www.insidebtcc.com
It will mark the second outing in the series for the 1992 BTCC title winner following his appearance in the Silverstone Classic last month at the wheel of the Ford Sierra RS 500 he used while competing in the BTCC back in 1990. In what was the final year for the series before it adopted the two-litre formula in 1991, Harvey failed to make it onto the top step of the podium but picked up no fewer than eight top three finishes en-route to fourth in the championship standings. Fast forward some 23 years and the 2013 running of the Silverstone www.insidebtcc.com
Classic gave Harvey the first opportunity to once again get back behind the wheel of the same Labatt’s car he had raced in the final event of the Group A era, which ironically took place at Silverstone back in October 1990.
Going up against the likes of Patrick Watts in his Super Touring Peugeot 406 and current racer Frank Wrathall in a Vauxhall Cavalier, Harvey was expected to be amongst the front-runners in the car now owned by
While his hopes of victory would soon be ended by an engine issue that would see him slip back to third, the post-race exclusion of winner Neil Smith saw Harvey promoted into second place behind Wrathall’s Cavalier.
Having qualified fourth on the grid, behind three cars from the Super Touring era, Harvey soon led the opening race as the iconic RS500 was able to stretch its legs.
Although the damage sustained to the engine was enough to force the car out of race two – where owner Smith was due to drive – the chance to be reunited with an old friend and roll back the years left the 1992 title winner with a huge smile on his face. “I absolutely loved it,” he told Inside BTCC. “It was fantastic to be reunited with the car I last drove in the final race of the 1990 season, which was the final race in the BTCC for the Group A cars. It was unchanged from when I last raced it in the final round at Silverstone and it was great to be back behind the wheel. “The Group A cars was such evocative machines. They were so powerful and very quick. You’ve got to remember that these were cars with 550bhp that could hit 170mph; they were fantastic. Inside BTCC
When the final race of the weekend draws to a close at Knockhill and the teams start packing up to head home, ITV commentator Tim Harvey will hit the road for Oulton Park for the latest meeting on the Super Touring Car Trophy calendar.
Pics: PSP Images
People often talk about Super Touring and how great those days were with the competition there was and with the cars and the manufacturers, but those who are a bit older can remember the Group A days and just how spectacular the cars were. “Having the opportunity to get back behind the wheel was brilliant and the memories came flooding back.” Although the engine issue ultimately meant Harvey became a sitting duck for his rivals behind, the Super Touring race as a whole featured just as much action as a modern day BTCC event, with Watts involved in a hefty shunt when he lost control exiting Copse and the well documented clash between Smith and Stewart Whyte’s Honda that led to Smith’s exclusion.
once a touring car driver, always a touring car driver!” Harvey said of the action on track. “There was some hard racing, although you obviously have to be respectful of the cars as they are now privately owned and you don’t want to damage them as it isn’t easy to replace parts – especially on something like the RS500 which was completely original. “Sadly for me, the 23year-old engine was on its last legs and overheated
towards the end of the race, although it’s a sign of how well built and reliable the car was that it was still on the original engine! “With modern technology, you can now build a better engine for an RS500 and it’ll now get a fresh engine for Oulton Park and the rest of the year.” While the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of the RS500 is one that Harvey has been eager to take with both hands,
there is one other car that he would jump at the chance to drive once again. “Obviously the car that I won the championship in has a lot of special memories for me, but it isn’t in existence anymore,” he said. “If I had to chose one car, then I’d have to go for the Volvo I drove in 1995. “As a charismatic touring car, that was it. It changed the public perception of Volvo a huge amount and was in the BTCC at a time when Super Touring was at its peak. I know that the guys who run the series are looking around for one but I don’t know if there is a genuine one available. If there was the chance to own or race one, it would have to be my own car and there aren’t many about!”
“I think it was a case of Inside BTCC
LAUREN’S COLUMN... In her latest Inside BTCC column, Lauren Taylor looks back at a breakthrough weekend for boyfriend Aron Smith and the Airwaves Racing team…
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What an unbelievable weekend! I finished my last blog with ‘I can’t wait for the weekend where podiums become the new norm’. Well here we have it. The events leading up to the Snetterton weekend were both hard and frustrating. While my previous blogs were littered with yearning hope and optimism, it is so nice to now be in a position where I can just vomit words onto the page with excitement. The six week break was long, and staying upbeat with regards to racing was proving increasingly difficult. Racing for Aron has always been what pushed him to do and achieve anything. The glisten in his eyes had started to be clouded with worry. There is no doubt the two-day test at Snetterton was the turning point for Airwaves Racing and Aron alike. With a fresh pair of eyes in the form of the almighty Geoff Kingston www.insidebtcc.com
along with Russell Paddon and Richard Townsend, they had performed magic. Watching TSL at home during those test days was, on a whole, rather boring, but became a handy study aid and good excuse to stop working. Towards the end of the second day, the times were finally there. For the first time in what seemed like months, that tiny, nagging feeling had gone – I knew they had cracked it.
uninformed opinion, that Aron isn’t good enough, that Airwaves were cheating or that there is no way we will have pace come race day. I will now use this platform to promote how wrong you keyboard warriors were. From the highest of horses, I salute you… Airwaves Racing are back!
Aron’s phone calls for the rest of the day were filled with what he perceived to be exciting tales of the exact grip found upon entrance and exit of each individual turn; that illusive grip that we have been chasing all year.
I woke on Saturday morning to Aron bouncing on the bed, LITERALLY BOUNCING ON THE BED shouting, ‘the weekend is here’. That was nearly the end of the weekend for our Aron, as he was met with my angry face. However, I found it in my heart to let it slide this once. Aron was excited, the same excitement he had at the start of the season.
In the time between that test day and the next round, Aron was buzzing to get going again. This was made all the funnier by the amount of silliness that goes with a turn of success. As a fellow member of the paddock, you do not look big, smart or funny when you highlight, in your
If I’m honest, I don’t remember all that much from the free practice sessions as my memories of qualifying seem to consume that day. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really take that much notice of what goes on for the first 20 minutes of qualifying, but because this seemed
like the turning point, I was eager to watch every second. Going into his fourth lap, Aron lay in 20th. I watched as each of his sectors flickered green (meaning, in short, he was onto a winning lap). Then BOOM, he shot up to sixth. While part of me fully acknowledged that this usually meant nothing being so early on in the session, the other part of me didn’t care. With celebratory hands in the air, I saw the red flag was out. I rolled my eyes, annoyed that someone had made a dopey move while Aron was obviously flying. Idiot. I looked to Aron’s mechanics Al, Pete and Jon to exchange smug looks and quickly noticed that they did not have the same expression of happiness that I had painted all over my face. Quiet murmurs of ‘it’s Aron’ filled the garage. With pace I walked into enemy territory, checking every other garage to see Inside BTCC 11
if they had the live footage of what was going on. With no luck, I returned to the Airwaves garage to be met by everyone telling me that Aron was okay. Geoff, Aron’s engineer, made a special effort to inform me that Aron had been over the radio but that they didn’t actually know how bad the damage was. Surprisingly, my main concern was the car, knowing that Aron would be so disappointed if he couldn’t get out for the rest of qualifying. Not really knowing what to do I went to the back of the garage to find the car in a ball. Having asked the driver of the truck where Aron was, I was taken aback to be told he’d been taken to the medical centre. It’s funny looking back now knowing what a great weekend was to follow, but seeing that the main impact was on the driver’s door and that Aron was bad enough to be brought to the medical centre, naturally I began to worry. As I flapped around trying to find him, I saw his little bobble head emerge (imagine something out of Inside BTCC 12
a movie with a suspense filled soundtrack). Having got to him, he made sure to reassure everyone that he was fine, but I could tell he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Looking back, this must have been the fear of confronting Mr Bartrum, the wonderful team principal of Airwaves Racing. While Aron was okay, the car was not and visions of sixth place seemed like an increasingly distant result. Once alone, Aron let it slip that he was in a lot more pain then he was originally letting on. In comes superwoman Kate, queen of fixing all ailments and someone who consequently armed me with icepack Ammo to inflict on Aron later on that day. There were five minutes remaining of the session and I left Aron to further examine his damaged chariot. I couldn’t believe it when I saw his name still in the top ten, never mind still in sixth when the session ended. It was the news we needed leaving the track. Needless to say the team did an unbelievable job that
night, working into the night to get that car podiumready for the next morning, but I’ll get to them later. Sunday morning started on a high having seen the ‘show room’ like car turned out as pristine as ever. It must be said, the first race was potentially the most boring race of the year, but Aron brought the car home in sixth and that was all that mattered. I remember walking into the garage about 20 minutes after the first race to find Aron’s car scattered around the floor. I fully acknowledge that I still struggle to know my place in the team (I hope you love me all the same David and Oly ), but it was at this moment where I had to double take, disgusted as if I was Aron’s head engineer and hadn’t been consulted on the problem, like I would know how to fix it. I walked to the front of the car and watched as they took out the engine. Typical. Just as the weekend is lining up to be the most successful to date, the car had to be taken apart. With
the amount of work that comes with removing the engine, the reality set in that it was very likely Aron was not going to make the next race. I was sickened. I touched base with Geoff and he only reiterated what a huge job this was, and there was a pretty high chance of it not being done in time. I had flashbacks to a few rounds ago where Aron was due to start well up the grid but a similar change needed to be made to the front end of the car and he missed his spot by no more than two minutes and had to start at the back of the grid. I could see it on the mechanics faces - they were not going to let this happen again. One of my favourite things about our Oly Collins is the count down to the race. He enters into this brilliant persona similar to that of Marcus Bentley, narrator of Big Brother. From deep within, Oly shouted ‘THREE MINUTES’. At this stage, Aron was sat in a car with no wheels, bonnet, and mechanical parts missing that I’m sure were pretty vital to the functions of a touring car. There must www.insidebtcc.com
have been eight guys on the car at that time. I don’t care if people think I’m being dramatic but my heart was literally in my stomach. ‘ONE MINUTE’, Oly shrieked. All the guys working in perfect sync, while tools where being thrown everywhere. The bonnet was down and the tandem shouting told Aron to turn on the engine. I exhaled with defeat as that continuous chugging sound from the car was being made. Third attempt and the sound of the engine was like music to everyone’s ears. I remember thinking that I couldn’t care less if the car broke down half way through the race as long as he got to start from his welldeserved position. As Aron’s car zipped off up the pit lane, attention then moved to relocating every tool in the garage onto the grid. Before then I had never been onto the grid as I leave Aron to get in the zone. All of that was out the window and it really was a team effort to bring every shiny metal object out on www.insidebtcc.com
track in fear that Aron would report half way around the track that there was an infamous ‘rattling sound’. Alas, being so freaking great, the boys had put together the perfect racing car in the fraction of the time it would have taken anyone else. Walking back to the garage before the green flag lap, I just wanted to embrace everyone and never let them go, as if they were my long lost children. Emotions were so high and I could see the relief on everyone’s face. I cannot begin to put into words how much I have fallen in love with the guys at Airwaves. I have never, in all my life, been witness to such selfless hard work and determination. Do not think for a second that this is just a job for these guys. At every race weekend I feel like I’m sending Aron into battle, but right behind him are all the guys at Airwaves. This year has not been easy and at times tension has been high. They have worked tirelessly in the shadows without the
rewards of good results and never, not once, have they dropped their heads. I truly know that they have Aron’s best interest at heart and telling them ‘thank you’ after a race is simply not enough. If Aron’s dream comes true, it will be because he has surrounded himself with people like them. Aron and Mat worked hand in hand in that race, once again, reinforcing just how unique this team and partnership is. To get on the podium in race two was honestly one of the highlights of my year. This may be weird to some people seeing as I am only the ‘clueless girlfriend’, but it was just so lovely to see all of Aron’s hard work pay off and to give two wellmanicured fingers to all those who may have second guessed the team’s ability. I just didn’t care what happened in race three but anyone reading this should go back and look at the first corner. Both Mat and Aron’s first lap was just dynamite. I rarely take time to praise other drivers but it must be noted that the racing
between Aron and Adam Morgan was seamless. To finish on the podium again, and with Mat coming home in a well-deserved second, it was just a picture perfect moment for all the guys at Airwaves. Looking forward to Knockhill I wholly expect much of the same. Knockhill is one of Aron’s favourite tracks and now that everything has aligned I can’t wait for him to kick ass once more. On a parting note keep a look out for Aron’s limited edition Charity wristbands that will be available on eBay from the 22nd of August - with all proceeds going to Battersea Dogs and Cats home, an incredible cause! Until next time…
X n e r u a L You can follow Aron Smith on Twitter at @AronSmith and ‘Like’ him in Facebook at www.facebook.com/ AronSmithRacing
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NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF Jordan handed grid penalty Andrew Jordan has become the first of the BTCC frontrunners to fall foul of the series’ new ‘three strikes’ rule – introduced this season to clamp down on poor driving standards. Jordan was handed two points on his licence for a clash with fellow Honda man Gordon Shedden in the second race of the weekend at Snetterton, which marked his third ‘strike’ of the year. The Pirtek Racing man had previously been penalised by stewards at both Donington Park and Oulton Park and will now take a six-place penalty after qualifying has been completed at Knockhill. “We need to qualify as high as possible as I really want to start in the top 10 for the first race,” he said. “However, the weight will hurt us in qualifying. We clearly need to make progress from where we start, given the grid penalty. “The racing at Knockhill is always close and if we could www.insidebtcc.com
get three top six finishes, that would be a great result. I need to get some good points, but stay out of trouble as well. Plus, the weather is often another factor at Knockhill.” Jordan is the second driver to reach three strikes after team-mate Jeff Smith, who was given a grid drop at Croft.
ITV4 to air Touring Car Legends show Gaucho Productions, the company behind the successful documentary charting Race2Recovery’s assault on the 2013 Dakar Rally, are to produce a special series charting the history of the British Touring Car Championship. Touring Car Legends will air in three parts on ITV4 later in the year and will look back at the history of touring car competition in the UK from the 1950s through to the present day. The series will feature a mixture of archive footage alongside interviews with the
key figures involved in some of the most famous moments in BTCC history. “I fell in love with motorsport watching the likes of Andy Rouse, Steve Soper and John Cleland doing battle in cars that looked a bit like the one my Dad drove,” Alistair Weaver, Executive Producer, Gaucho Productions, said. “The British Touring Car Championship has always been about the cars and the characters and with the passage of time we plan to offer fresh insight into what really happened in some of the sport’s most memorable moments. “We’re delighted that we are able to bring these stories to life and share them with the dedicated fans of ITV4.” John Claridge, Head of Programme Strategy for ITV4, said he was delighted to be able to commission the show. “ITV4 has a solid track record of screening exciting sports documentaries and is synonymous with televising touring car racing in the modern era so we’re excited
to bring this new series to viewers’ screens,” he said. “It goes through the archives to show just how exciting ‘tin-top’ racing has been over the last 60 years and I’m delighted Gaucho will bring the stories and highlights to life for us.”
Youngster to set BTCC record Teenager Aiden Moffat will become the youngest driver in BTCC history when he joins the grid at Knockhill. Moffat will drive a Super 2000-spec Chevrolet Cruze – the same one previously raced by Joe Girling – for the remainder of the season after agreeing a deal with car owners Finesse Motorsport. The 16-year-old will break the record previously held by Tom Chilton, which he set at Brands Hatch back in 2002 when he took a podium finish on his first outing in a Barwell Motorsport-run Vauxhall Astra. “I am just so excited to be on the big stage racing in front of thousands of fans at the Inside BTCC 15
NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF circuits and millions more watching on TV,” he said. “I know the Knockhill circuit inside and out so that should help with my debut, but I am simply going to enjoy it. I’ve always dreamed about doing the BTCC and it’s always been in the plan, but it has come around sooner than we thought. “To be told I am the youngest ever driver in the BTCC just adds to the excitement to be honest, so I really can’t wait to get out there. My race craft has really progressed and I’ve been up against some really tough racers in Scotland. I won’t be phased by the challenge, but I’ll certainly be taking it all in and looking to learn from the experience.”
Superstars deal for Turkington Colin Turkington has inked a deal to compete in the British round of the Superstars series at Donington Park. The eBay Motors man will follow Tom Onslow-Cole and Jeff Smith in racing in the series after signing up with Scuderia Giudici Inside BTCC 16
for the British round of the championship.
will help me in the BTCC.”
The Northern Irishman will be at the wheel of a BMW M3 for his one-off outing, which will see him go up against drivers including Fabrizio Giovanardi and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Bushell tests IP Tech Chevrolet
“I’ve been pestering the guys at Superstars for a few years to do the Donington Park race,” he said. “There was an opportunity to do it last year but I was unable to take up the chance, but I made sure I put my name forwards again this year. “It’s great to have the chance to do the race this season, and especially in a BMW, which is what I was keen on. While I don’t know the car, I obviously know the brand very well and it will be good to sample another BMW for the weekend. “I really enjoy racing with the eBay Motors team in the BTCC, but when the opportunity comes along to take part in some extra races, you have to take it. It’ll be a new experience for me but it all helps as a driver, and I might learn something that
Clio Cup racer Mike Bushell has sampled BTCC machinery for the first time after joining IP Tech Race Engineering for a day of running at Snetterton. Having made its delayed debut at the Norfolk circuit during the sixth round of the year, the team elected to head back to the circuit for a pre-Knockhill test. Bushell spent time at the wheel of the team’s NGTCspec Chevrolet Cruze alongside team boss Andy Neate in what was his first run in a touring car. The youngster is hoping to try and put together a deal to move into the BTCC next year having enjoyed a solid season to date in the Clio Cup.
MINI Cooper Cup when the series takes it place on the support package at Knockhill. The bumper field will be in action twice over the course of the weekend with Joe Tanner seeking to maintain his place at the head of the championship standings. Tanner takes a 14 point lead over Kenneth Thirwall into Rounds 19 and 20 of the season, with David Sleigh seven points further back in third. Former BTCC racer Michael Doyle sits fifth in the standings having made the move into the series at the start of the year. Tanner also leads the Newcomers Championship by 90 points from Doyle while Elaine Marshall holds a commanding advantage over Emma Bruce in the Ladies Cup.
MINI series returns to BTCC paddock A full grid of 32 cars is set to do battle in the Celtic Speed www.insidebtcc.com
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OWY RETURNS AGAIN!
Paul O’Neill to join the BTCC grid at Knockhill for his latest series comeback
The 33-year-old has been without a full-time drive since the end of 2011, and made the move into broadcasting last year when he signed up to become part of the ITV Sport presenting team alongside the likes of Steve Rider and Louise Goodman. O’Neill’s only outings in the series last year came at Croft and Knockhill when he was called up by Speedworks to replace the absent Tony Hughes, with his Knockhill weekend yielding three top six finishes. Of those, a fourth place finish in race two remains Speedworks’ best Inside BTCC 18
BTCC result to date. Having been unable to put together a deal to race with Speedworks full-time this year, O’Neill looked set to spend 2013 working solely with ITV before the opportunity arose to join Tony Gilham’s team for the latest three rounds of the season. The former Vauxhall racer will drive the car used by Robb Holland at
Snetterton with his aim being to bring the Insignia home inside the top ten in at least one of the three races. “It’s going to be extremely tough as I haven’t driven the car before and I haven’t had any testing this year, so it’ll be different and more challenging than say when I jumped in the Toyota last season,” he said. “I don’t want to put too
much pressure on myself in terms of results but seeing what Robb Holland did with the car last weekend then I’d like to think I could be knocking on the door of the top ten. “Obviously if I could do that in race two then I’d stand a chance of being up front for the final race, which would be absolutely fantastic.” While O’Neill’s return to the grid is a welcome one, his opportunity to return has come about due to the misfortune of reigning Clio Cup champion Jack Goff, who finds himself sidelined by budget issues. Having stepped up to the BTCC at the start of the year, the youngster has produced a series of impressive performances in the Insignia, posting the third quickest time in testing at Snetterton and then qualifying eighth on www.insidebtcc.com
For the second successive season, Paul O’Neill will make a welcome return to the BTCC when the series heads to Scotland having agreed a deal that will see him drive a Team HARD. Vauxhall Insignia at Knockhill.
the grid. Although tougher luck on race days has limited him to just 25 points so far, Goff will now hope to return to action at Rockingham next month.
“Jack has shown some astonishing pace at times already this season and we know the car is very quick,” team boss Gilham said. “There is plenty more to come from Jack and the Insignia and we look forward to seeing what he can do when we get to Rockingham in a few weeks time. “I’m sure he will be back better than ever and finally get the positions he deserves. I am confident that we will still see Jack on the podium this year - he has the pace and just needs to get that little bit of luck that has been missing so far this season.”
HARD. will field a completely new line-up in the two Vauxhalls for the Knockhill weekend, with Holland’s appearance last time out at Snetterton having been a one-off. Instead, youngster Kieran Gallagher will make his debut in the series little more than twelve months after being granted his racing licence, with his maiden outing in the BTCC
coming on the back of outings for Team HARD. in the VW Cup at both Spa and Brands Hatch. “I’m improving all the time but of course this is just amazing,” Gallagher, who has experience of competing at Knockhill in the Scottish Legends series, said. “A year ago I was just excited to be in a motor race, and then to be leading a Legends race was a great milestone too,
but moving up so quickly to drive a BTCC car is unbelievable. “Knockhill was the main selling point and although it’s beyond my wildest dreams I won’t be racing just for fun. I’ve watched Jason Plato racing on TV for years and Gordon Shedden gave me one of my trophies last season, so for sure it’ll be a little surreal to be in the same race as guys like that, but I cannot wait and I hope to make the most of the opportunity.” Gallagher had been due to compete in Holland’s car, but will instead drive the black Insignia usually raced by Goff.
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TORDOFF STEPS UP jakobebrey.com
FIRST WIN FOR MG KX MOMENTUM YOUNGSTER AS TEAMMATE PLATO SUFFERS
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NEAL STILL ON TOP IN TITLE HUNT HONDAS FILL TOP THREE CHAMPIONSHIP PLACES AS PLATO FALTERS There were victories for Sam Tordoff, Andrew Jordan and Gordon Shedden at Snetterton. Matt Neal continues to lead the championship, while Jason Plato’s title hopes were dented by a disappointing outing in Norfolk. RACE ONE MG KX Momentum’s Sam Tordoff took his first BTCC victory in the first race at Snetterton, leading from lights to flag. 24-year-old Tordoff had given himself the best chance of victory by taking pole position on Saturday and went on to put in a faultless performance to win www.insidebtcc.com
for the first time in the championship. Tordoff started the race well, staying ahead of teammate Jason Plato, with Gordon Shedden in third and Turkington in fourth. He soon opened up a gap of a couple of seconds back to Plato, whose MG was carrying an extra 27kg of success ballast. It proved to be as straightforward a victory as Tordoff is ever likely to experience in the BTCC, just needing to keep his composure and remain mistakefree through to the chequered flag, which he duly did. Sam Tordoff said, “We were confident
before the race. We had a great test here, so we were pretty optimistic. We turned up yesterday and the car was great. I knew if got a good start, we’d be just about there. It turned out to be a relatively easy win. I got a good start, Jason tucked in behind me and off we went.” Jason Plato made sure it was a successful race for the MG team, completing a onetwo, despite some pressure from Gordon Shedden in the second half of the race. Jason Plato said, “Sam’s doing a great job. Not only is he learning fast, but he’s contributing to Inside BTCC 21
Pics: PSP Images
MATT LAMPRELL REPORTS
the team. We had a great two days of testing here. When you’ve got a car like this, you’ve got to get points. We’ve done that in this race, so it’s a good start to the day.”
Shedden finished third for Yuasa Racing, ahead of eBay Motors’ Colin Turkington and Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan. Aron Smith claimed sixth in his Airwaves racing Ford Focus, which had been repaired overnight following the heavy impact that brought his qualifying session to an early close on Saturday. Seventh place went to Adam Morgan in the first of the Toyotas, with Mat
Jackson, Matt Neal and Rob Collard rounding out the top ten. Lea Wood claimed victory in the Jack Sears Trophy, finishing in 19th position overall. RACE TWO Andrew Jordan won an eventful second race, ahead of Matt Neal and Aron Smith. Tordoff started the race from pole position after his earlier victory, but it turned out to be a much tougher outing for both MGs. At the start of the race, Jason Plato moved into an early lead, ahead of the fast-starting Colin
Turkington and Tordoff. However, there was little time for the racing to get going before the safety car was required. Liam Griffin’s Addison Lee Motorbase Ford Focus became beached in the gravel after an unfortunate clash with David Nye at Riches. It was only a brief pause in the action, with racing resuming on lap five. It meant the pack was bunched up though, and it stayed that way for much of the race, ensuring excitement all the way to the finish.
1 Sam Tordoff (NGTC) 23:55.798 / 12 Laps; 2 Jason Plato (NGTC) +2.514; 3 Gordon Shedden (NGTC) +3.564; 4 Colin Turkington (NGTC) +3.829; 5 Andrew Jordan (NGTC) +4.313; 6 Aron Smith (NGTC) +8.908; 7 Adam Morgan (NGTC) +10.845; 8 Mat Jackson (NGTC) +14.590; 9 Matt Neal (NGTC) +16.0055; 10 Rob Collard (NGTC) +16.569. Fastest lap: Sam Tordoff (1:58.092) Independent winner: Colin Turkington. RACE TWO 1 Andrew Jordan (NGTC) 30:03.234 / 14 Laps; 2 Matt Neal (NGTC) +2.770; 3 Aron Smith (NGTC) +3.467; 4 Mat Jackson (NGTC) +4.158; 5 Adam Morgan (NGTC) +6.822; 6 Colin Turkington (NGTC) +7.207; 7 Gordon Shedden (NGTC) +8.543;
with an engine issue. With Plato out, Tordoff was left to fly the MG flag, but it was a tough task for the race one winner. He lost second place to Jordan at Agostini on lap seven and then quickly fell victim to the charging pack behind him, slipping
First there was a challenge from Andrew Jordan on
RACE RESULTS - TOP 10s RACE ONE
Gordon Shedden for fourth. They traded the position a couple of times before a tap from Jordan dropped Shedden down the order. At the same time, Colin Turkington was challenging Plato for the lead of the race. It was far too easy for the eBay Motors driver in the end though, as Plato slowed and pitted
8 Dave Newsham (NGTC) +10.630; 9 Tom Onslow-Cole (NGTC) +16.003; 10 Frank Wrathall (NGTC) +16.599. Fastest lap: Andrew Jordan (1:58.762). Independent winner: Andrew Jordan. RACE THREE 1 Gordon Shedden (NGTC) 32:20.912 / 15 Laps; 2 Mat Jackson (NGTC) +3.090; 3 Aron Smith (NGTC) +10.656; 4 Adam Morgan (NGTC) +11.995; 5 Sam Tordoff (NGTC) +12.578; 6 Colin Turkington (NGTC) +12.991; 7 Andrew Jordan (NGTC) +13.846; 8 Matt Neal (NGTC) +18.939; 9 Rob Collard (NGTC) +19.055; 10 Nick Foster (NGTC) +20.445. Fastest lap: Gordon Shedden (1:58.493). Independent winner: Mat Jackson.
TORDOFF STARTS WEEKEND WITH FIRST POLE Sam Tordoff claimed the first pole position of his BTCC career at Snetterton. The MG driver set a best time of 1:56.696 around the 300 circuit, to line up ahead of teammate Jason Plato on the front row of the grid for Sunday’s first race. It was a session of two halves, with most of the competitive times set in the early stages, before the red flags came out for Aron Smith’s off. The Airwaves Racing driver was sitting sixth when he hit the barrier, damaging the front of his Ford Focus. The session stopped so that the car could be recovered and the barrier repaired. Somewhat ironically, it was his best
qualifying performance of the season so far. There were just over 17 minutes left on the clock when the session resumed, but no-one could challenge Tordoff’s time. In fact, the only improvements came a long way down the order, leaving Tordoff on pole and Jason Plato alongside him. The Honda Yuasa Racing team endured mixed fortunes, with Gordon Shedden third and Matt Neal just 11th. Andrew Jordan claimed fourth on the grid, ahead of Turkington in fifth and Aron Smith sixth. Adam Morgan took seventh, with Jack Goff eighth, Dave Newsham ninth and Dan Welch in tenth.
Good weekend: SAM TORDOFF Claimed his first win in the series and showed great pace all weekend.
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ARON SMITH Summer testing seems to have paid off for the Airwaves Racing team.
At the front, Jordan set about challenging Turkington for the lead. Behind them, Aron Smith sat patiently in third, with Airwaves Racing teammate Mat Jackson just behind. By lap 10, there was actually a train of eight cars following the leader and it looked like any of them could end up in the lead at any corner. Lap 11 brought the almost inevitable lead change, with contact between Jordan and Turkington seeing the Honda come off better and the BMW
suffering. Jordan moved into the lead, while Turkington found himself down in eighth place. Aron Smith was still second and initially looked like he could challenge Jordan, but ended up defending from Matt Neal. The victory went to Jordan, with Neal getting the better of Smith to take second. The Irishman held on to the final podium position – the first of the year for Airwaves Racing. To make it even better, he was followed home in fourth by teammate Mat Jackson. Fifth went
to Adam Morgan, while Turkington recovered to claim sixth. Gordon Shedden finished seventh, ahead of Newsham in eighth and Tom Onslow-Cole in ninth. Frank Wrathall completed the top ten. Lea Wood took his second Jack Sears Trophy win of the day, finishing in an impressive 13th overall.
“Any win is important, but that’s a really important one for our championship campaign. The wily old Matt Neal made
it up to second though, so we only gained a few points on him in the end.” Aron Smith said, “The team had to change an engine between race one and two. It’s nice to get a trophy for the Airwaves Racing boys. This is huge. It’s how our year
Race winner Andrew Jordan said, “I thought we could win that race and sure enough we did. The car was superb – a great achievement for everyone at Pirtek
Bad weekend: JASON PLATO Second in race one, but it all went downhill from there.
Racing. Colin was defending very, very well. He tried to close me down – there was nowhere I could go.
down the order as a result.
FRANK WRATHALL Polesitter at Snetterton last year failed to shine this time out.
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should have started. We found our feet in the test we had here and now we’ve got the pace to race at the front for a whole race like that.” RACE THREE Victory in the final race at Snetterton went to Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden, albeit after a clash with early race leader Colin Turkington. It was Turkington who led away from the line, making a stunning start from the second row on the grid to blast past front row sitters Dave Newsham and Gordon Shedden before the first corner.
Toyota driver in the barrier and out of the race. Almost simultaneously, Plato’s weekend came to an abrupt end as he slid across the grass into the tyre barrier and then rolled his MG. The car landed back on its wheels and Plato climbed out, but that was it for the double champion. It might just be the end of Plato’s championship hopes, too, as he now sits 50 points behind the leader, Matt Neal. The safety car was deployed at the end of the first lap while the Newsham and Plato cars were recovered.
Shedden settled into second place, but Newsham’s hopes of a strong result ended very quickly. In fact it was a dramatic first lap that brought an early end to the race for both Newsham and Jason Plato.
The restart came on lap five and there was more action at the first corner, this time with Ollie Jackson, Will Bratt and Dan Welch caught up in contact. Bratt ended up in the tyre barrier on the outside of the track.
Newsham made contact with Matt Neal twice and the second incident ended with the Speedworks
With all the action going on behind him, Colin Turkington led the race from Gordon Shedden.
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The eBay Motors driver was forced to defend as Shedden looked for any opportunity to make the pass happen. It took some four laps before Shedden passed Turkington, with the help of a bit of contact to the rear of the BMW – just enough to send it out of control. Once Shedden hit the front, he was on his way to victory. Mat Jackson was his closest rival in second, ahead of Airwaves Racing teammate Aron Smith in third. Smith spent the second half of the race defending from the Toyota of Adam Morgan. Morgan tried – forcefully at times – to find a way past the Ford, but as the chequered flag approached, he in turn had to defend from Sam Tordoff. Tordoff had found his way up to fifth place, passing Jordan and Austin along the way. He closed on Morgan with three laps remaining but couldn’t find a way past.
Shedden claimed victory, ahead of Mat Jackson, Aron Smith and Adam Morgan. Tordoff had to settle for fifth, with Turkington recovering to sixth and Jordan finishing in seventh. Matt Neal took eighth place, while eBay pair Rob Collard and Nick Foster completed the top ten. Lea Wood made it a clean sweep of Jack Sears Trophy victories, taking 15th place overall. Matt Neal leads the championship on 256 points, ahead of Andrew Jordan (247), Gordon Shedden (234), Colin Turkington (219) and Jason Plato )206). Gordon Shedden said, “It was a difficult day all round. What a way to finish though. It was my best chance of the day to get a good result and I managed it. I like to race fair with Colin. He just sneaked across on me and I had nowhere to go.”
At the chequered flag, www.insidebtcc.com
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WIN ROCKINGHAM TICKETS With the BTCC title race set to hot up through the second half of the year, weâ€™ve teamed up with Rockingham to offer you the chance to win tickets to the eighth round of the season in September. With thanks to the
team at Rockingham, weâ€™ve been given no fewer than FIVE pairs of tickets to give away for the event at the Corby circuit, which is set to play a pivotal role in deciding who emerges from the 2013 season victorious.
To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following simple question: Which two drivers took victory in the Rockingham races last season? A: Rob Collard and Aron Smith B: Jason Plato and Gordon Shedden C: Frank Wrathall and Matt Neal Simply send you answer along with your name, address and contact phone number to email@example.com to be in with a chance of attending the event on 15 September.
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COMPETITION CLOSES ON SUNDAY 8 SEPTEMBER!
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SUPPORT RACE ROUND-UP
We look back at all the action from the support race paddock at Snetterton...
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Ingram extends lead Tom Ingram extended his lead in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup with another three podium finishes last time out at Snetterton.
The top four in the standings are the only
full-season entrants to have won this season, and will hope to add to their win tallies in Scotland, where Ingram and Davies will also be keen to avoid a repeat of the dramatic incident that saw them crash out of the final race of the weekend twelve months ago. While Ingram continues to march towards the G55 crown, the main battle for honours is now focused on the teams championship, with his
JHR team giving chase to current leaders Academy Motorsport, who continue to benefit from the strong results being secured by G50 leader Sean Huyton. He made it 14 wins in 17 starts with three more unchallenged victories at Snetterton to give him a 329 point lead â€“ meaning he will be crowned champion at Knockhill barring a disastrous weekend on track.
The JHR man won the opening race of the weekend and then took a second and third in the following two to continue an impressive record that has seen him finish inside the top three in all bar two of the races run so far.
Ingram now heads the standings by 107 points ahead of defending champion Carl Breeze who joined the current points leader in taking his sixth win of the year, while there was a first win of the campaign for current G50 champion Mark Davies which helped him to go third in the standings ahead of Pepe Massot and Matt NicollJones.
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All to play for in Carrera Cup Having seen his championship lead cut prior to the summer break, Michael Meadows saw it eroded altogether at Snetterton to leave him level on points with rival Jonas Gelzinis heading into the seventh round of the year at Knockhill. Gelzinis took victory in both races at Snetterton while Meadows lost vital points to his rival when a jump
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start in race one led to a drive-through penalty that left him down in fifth place. Second in race two ensured he remains level on points with his Lithuanian rival, with Meadows holding on to his championship lead by virtue of the fact that he has five wins to his name while Gelzinis has three. Gelzinis’ three wins have come in the last three races however and he will aim to add to his winning run in
Scotland, although the top two aren’t likely to have it all their own way at one of the most challenging circuits of the season. Dean Stoneman for one will hope to reduce the gap to the pair ahead in third place in the standings having taken his seventh podium of the year at Snetterton, while Rory Butcher – son of Knockhill owner Derek – will aim to shine on home soil having picked up his biggest points hail of the season to date last time out thanks to
a brace of podium finishes. Dan Lloyd, who slipped to fifth in the standings after retiring for race two at Snetterton, will also be keen to try and repeat the podium success he enjoyed twelve months ago. Victor Jimenez extended his Pro-Am1 lead at Snetterton and now sits over 60 points clear of closest rival Dan De Zille, while the Spaniard also retains a top six overall championship placing.
Dan Cammish could face his biggest challenge to date in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain returns to Knockhill after a threeyear absence for the latest round of the season. Cammish continued his march to the title at Snetterton with three more wins maintaining his 100 per cent winning record for the season – which now stands at 18 successive wins. One further success in the three races north of the border would not only take him closer to the title, it would also allow Cammish to break Scott Malvern’s modern day record for wins in a season – which he matched in Norfolk.
Chief amongst them in Harrison Scott who moved back up to second in the standings with three more podium finishes at Snetterton, which enabled him to overhaul Nico Maranzana to become Cammish’s closest – yet distant – rival in the title race. Outside the top three, Juan Rosso sits a somewhat lonely fourth ahead of James Abbott, who will aim to end a run that sees him as the only driver in the top twelve yet to finish on the podium this season. Elswwhere, both Sam Brabham and Andy Richardson will hope for strong results to celebrate their respective birthdays – with the latter turning 22 on the Sunday of the Knockhill meeting.
Cammish raced at Knockhill the last time Formula Ford visited back in 2010, but this season will mark the first appearance in Scotland for the new ‘winged’ cars – with his rivals seeking to benefit as a result.
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Can Cammish be stopped?
jakobebrey.com Woodhead maintains lead despite run ending Harry Woodhead remains in charge of the Ginetta Junior Championship despite his winning run being brought to an end at Snetterton. The HHC Motorsport man had taken ten successive wins heading into the sixth meeting of the year but saw his run ended by Keith Donegan â€“ who stormed to victory in race one in Norfolk. A fine drive from Jack Mitchell then saw him win race two but Woodhead took a brace of second place
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finishes to make sure he still extended his lead â€“ which now stands at more than 150 points. Team-mate Will Palmer remains second but saw Donegan close to within four points of the runner-up spot with his Snetterton success, while Tom Jackson remains fourth. Ollie Chadwick and James Kellett round out the top six and are split by just a point after Chadwick edged ahead with a solid weekend at Snetterton.
Josh Files maintained his lead in the Renault UK Clio Cup on a weekend where he took his second victory of the season at Snetterton. On home soil, the Team Pyro man was able to pick up a brace of podium finishes to give him a 13 point lead ahead of the penultimate rounds of the year at
Rockingham; the Clio Cup regulars not making the trip to Knockhill. Files had seen his lead cut to a single point after Paul Rivett took an unchallenged win in the opening race but a lights-to-flag win of his own in race two was enough to re-open his advantage as Rivett could only take fourth following a lurid slide in the closing stages which cost him a place on the
round out the top six.
Behind the top two, Alex Morgan continued his impressive season to hold on to third in the standings ahead of James Colburn â€“ who returned to the podium for the first time since the season opener at Brands Hatch.
Unsurprisingly, Files retains his Graduate Cup advantage ahead of Colburn and Cook, while Simon Belcher extended his lead over Graham Field in the Masters Cup â€“ although it was third placed Lee Pattison who took his fourth maximum score of the year at Snetterton.
Stefan Hodgetts and Josh Cook, both of whom also stood on the Snetterton podium,
Files maintains Clio Cup advantage
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After a dramatic weekend of action at Snetterton, the BTCC now makes its annual trip to Scotland for the seventh round of the year at Knockhill.
Pics: PSP Images
Given what happened on the longest circuit on the schedule, action is almost guaranteed when a bumper field descends on one of its shortest, with the Brands Hatch Indy layout being the only venue shorter that the picturesque circuit that overlooks the Firth of Forth. Matt Neal retained his championship lead at Snetterton, but the Honda man saw his advantage cut to nine points by closest rival Andrew Jordan. Neal last won at Knockhill back in 2010 and goes into the weekend expecting a Inside BTCC 38
tough challenge, given the fact he will be again be carrying maximum ballast on his car and with Honda expecting to feel the effects of the current boost levels on the long drag out of the final hairpin. One advantage for Neal could be the six-place grid penalty that hangs over Jordan going into the weekend on the back of his picking up his third ‘strike’ of the season last time out at Snetterton.
That could leave the Pirtek Racing driver facing a major challenge on race day given how challenging it can be to overtake around the Scottish circuit, with Neal eager to drive home any advantage that comes his way. Like Jordan, Gordon Shedden took a victory away from Snetterton and the home hero is now well and truly in the mix for the championship title and has closed to
within a victory – plus bonus points – of Neal in the standings. The Scot will be competing at Knockhill with the #1 adorning his car for the first time and will be able to count on the support of the majority of the crowd as he aims to add to the three victories he has taken across the years. Fellow title hopefuls Colin Turkington and Jason Plato meanwhile will hope that Knockhill provides them with the chance to bounce back from the disappointments they suffered last time out at Snetterton, Turkington could well have made the trip to Scotland in a much stronger position in the standings had he not been knocked out of the lead in two of the three races in Norfolk, while Plato saw his title www.insidebtcc.com
hopes take a knock when he failed to finish two of the three races last time out. Should Turkington take a win this weekend, it would be the first time that the Northern Irishman has taken to the top step of the podium at Knockhill while Plato is looking to add to his recordbreaking eight wins. The MG man will however will be aware of how quickly things can go wrong, as he has seen in recent years following well documented – and much discussed – clashes with
Tom Boardman and Aron Smith. Plato’s MG team-mate Sam Tordoff is also likely to be in the mix after taking his first win last time out, while the likes of Adam Morgan, Smith and Mat Jackson will no doubt have been buoyed by the results they picked up at Snetterton earlier in the month. Numerous other drivers will hope to challenge towards the front of the pack, with Rob Collard in particular being one to watch. The eBay Motors man saw a tough season
continue at Snetterton but he was the man to beat in Scotland last year with a brace of victories; a repeat of which this around would be welcome as he seeks to move up from 15th in the championship standings.
a triple success at Snetterton for Lea Wood has put him in a strong position in the standings, with a comfortable lead over Liam Griffin in the standings. Wood will hope to maintain his advantage during the Scottish weekend, where the S2000 contingent will be boosted by the return of the Chevrolet Cruze previously raced by Joe Girling; now with teenage Aiden Moffat at the wheel.
Added interest this weekend will come from Paul O’Neill’s return with Team HARD., who also field newcomer Kieran Gallagher who joins O’Neill in debuting in a Vauxhall Insignia. In the Jack Sears Trophy,
RECENT HISTORY 2012 Pole
Jason Plato Plato, MG6 GT
Rob Collard, BMW 320si
Rob Collard, BMW 320si
Dave Newsham, Vauxhall Vectra
Tom Chilton, Ford Focus
Tom Chilton, Ford Focus
Gordon Shedden, Honda Civic
Tom Boardman, SEAT Leon
Alex MacDowall, Chevrolet Cruze
Gordon Shedden, Honda Civic
Matt Neal, Honda Civic
Jason Plato, Chevrolet Cruze
Pics; PSP Images
Jason Plato, Chevrolet Lacetti
Jason Plato, Chevrolet Lacetti
Fabrizio Giovanardi, Vauxhall Vectra
Mat Jackson, Chevrolet Lacetti
2013 RACE LAPS
LAP RECORD (QUALIFYING)
50.299secs (Tom Chilton – 2011)
LAP RECORD (RACE)
53.058secs (Rob Collard - 2012)
MOST WINS (1991-)
Jason Plato – 8
Darren Turner, SEAT Leon TDi
Jason Plato, SEAT Leon TDi
Jason Plato, SEAT Leon TDi
Darren Turner, SEAT Leon TDi
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30-31 March, Brands Hatch Indy 20-21 April, Donington Park National 4-5 May, Thruxton 8-9 June, Oulton Park Island 22-23 June, Croft 3-4 August, Snetterton 300 24-25 August, Knockhill 14-15 September, Rockingham 28-29 September, Silverstone 12-13 October, Brands Hatch GP
2013 BTCC CALENDAR
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Published on Aug 22, 2013
The 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to Knockhill. We also look back at Snetterton and talk to Tim Harvey.